|Volume 19 Number 4 April 2017||
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, encouraged Titus to give instruction that qualified as “sound doctrine” (2:1). In particular, Titus was to instruct the aged men (2:2), aged women (3-5), young men (6-8) and servants (9-10) how to live exemplary lives before God. In Titus 2:11-13, Paul provided an explanation for the exhortation to godly living. What should compel one to live according to the instruction found in Titus 2:10? The grace or unmerited favor of God!
Paul began by declaring the revelation of grace with these words, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (11). The quality of God’s grace is exceptional; it is able to deliver mankind from sin that would otherwise result in spiritual death (James 1:15; Ephesians 2:8). God has clearly revealed or manifested His grace in the person of Jesus the Christ (John 1:1-4, 14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10). How is one to respond? With devotion to the God of Heaven who desires, purely out of good-will, the salvation of every person’s soul (2 Peter 3:9). A failure to live according to God’s Word is a demonstration of one’s disrespect for God’s grace, which has been revealed in His Son.
Paul continued, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (11). With these words, one is to be motivated by the instruction of grace. The grace of God has been used by some to justify continuance in sin. This should not be so (Romans 6:1-2)! The grace of God that is taught in Scripture teaches that ungodliness and evil desires offered by the world ought to be repudiated (1 Timothy 2:16; 1 John 5:19). After the renouncement of sin, Christian characteristics such as self-restraint or sobriety, righteousness or right-doing and reverence for God ought to be added to one’s life.
Finally Paul established motivation for proper conduct in verses 13-14, which begin, “Looking for that blessed hope…” (13a). Christians should be motivated by the expectation of grace. Without the grace of God, there would be no expectation for salvation. However, because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who clearly revealed to mankind the grace of God, one can desire and expect or have hope of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:19-21). This hope will be realized upon the final return of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2; Matthew 25:31). Yet, one must prepare by living a life that conforms to God’s Word (2 Peter 3:11-13). If one refuses to submit to the will of God, the expectation after death is Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
Has the grace of God motivated you to live a life acceptable to God? It should.
Ernest S. Underwood
The Book of Proverbs is a book of contrasts. Look at 19:16. “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die.” The Bible is filled with statements of the necessity of keeping the commandments of God. Jesus’ familiar statement “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” is one of them. Again, note the contrast. One keeps his soul and the other will die. What makes the difference? Of course, the obvious answer is that one keeps the commandments while the other is careless with his soul by just being religious. The latter did not keep the commandments.
In the New Testament, there is an exact parallel to Solomon’s statement. It is found in Mark 16:16. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized [keeps the commandment] shall be saved: but he who does not believe [Is careless in his ways and does not obey the command] will be condemned.“ Question: Are you one who keeps your soul by doing the will of God, or are you careless in your ways?